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Private Rental Assistance Program policy
- Special circumstances
- Exempt accommodation
- Types of assistance
- Amount of assistance
- At the end of a tenancy
The Private Rental Assistance Program provides financial assistance to eligible customers who either:
- have difficulty meeting the upfront costs associated with renting privately
- need help to maintain their accommodation.
This policy sets out:
- who’s eligible for the program
- what Housing SA considers to be special circumstances
- the types of accommodation exempt from the program
- the types of assistance Housing SA approves
- the amount of assistance Housing SA provides.
Customers are eligible if they meet all of the below conditions:
- they have an independent income
- they meet the income and cash asset limits for the program
- they provide proof of income, identity and rent
- the total rent for the property’s no more than $450 per week
- the share of rent’s no more than 50% of the customer's total assessable income before tax
- the property’s in South Australia
- they don’t have a debt to Housing SA, or the debt’s less than $1,000 and an arrangement to repay is in place
- they aren’t bankrupt with a debt to Housing SA
- they don’t have an interest in a residential property
- they aren’t an overseas student
- providing the assistance won’t contravene the conditions of an intervention order
Debt or bankruptcy
Customers with a debt to Housing SA of more than $1,000 aren’t eligible for assistance, even if they have a debt arrangement in place.
Customers with a debt to Housing SA of $1,000 or less may be eligible for assistance provided they either:
- repay the debt in full before assistance is provided
- have an arrangement to repay the debt when they’re assessed for assistance, and the arrangement’s still in place when it’s provided.
Customers bankrupt with a debt to Housing SA aren’t eligible until the bankruptcy’s discharged.
Housing SA may provide assistance to customers who aren’t eligible but have special circumstances if they meet all of the below conditions:
- the property’s in South Australia
- the customer isn’t an overseas student
- providing the assistance won’t contravene the conditions of an intervention order.
Customers have special circumstances in any of the below situations:
- they’re moving because of domestic abuse or their safety’s at risk
- they’re homeless because they don’t have access to safe, secure accommodation - eg staying in a shelter
- they’re experiencing a housing crisis - eg they own residential property but have to leave due to a relationship breakdown
- they have a serious health or disability issue that hinders access to private rental accommodation - eg need a property with modifications for a wheelchair
- they’re experiencing temporary financial hardship.
The customer needs to contact Housing SA for a service options appointment.
Housing SA may ask for verification of special circumstances.
Assistance isn’t provided for any of the following types of accommodation:
- boarding in the family home
- a hotel or motel, except in line with the Emergency accommodation policy
- educational institution or college accommodation - eg on-campus housing
- hospital or club premises
- health-related facilities - eg nursing home, home for aged or disabled persons, mental health hostel, rest home
- retirement properties where a premium’s paid in order to live there
- public or Aboriginal housing
- caravan hire or site fees not at a caravan park or campground - eg at someone’s home
- public housing properties transferred to and managed by a community housing provider
- properties listed as uninhabitable on the Substandard property register.
Private rental assistance won't be provided into accommodation not covered under the Residential Tenancies Act 1995 or the Residential Parks Act 2007 - eg renting a room in a private dwelling, supported residential facility, except if Housing SA assesses and determines the customer's need for this type of accommodation.
Types of assistance
A bond guarantee’s an undertaking to a property owner, agent or proprietor that Housing SA will pay for verified, legitimate claims at the end of the tenancy - eg for unpaid rent, other tenant charges.
Bond guarantees aren't provided to customers who've already moved into the property except if either:
- it’ll replace an existing bond the customer paid for which will be used to pay rent arrears when it’s released
- a landlord’s eligible for a bond increase or top up under the Residential Tenancies Act 1995
- a bond’s needed for a new lease agreement - eg a sharer takes on more of the lease when someone moves out, the landlord didn't need a bond for the original lease agreement.
Rent in advance
Rent in advance is a grant.
Assistance is based on the amount of rent payable at the time of the customer’s assessment, and the type of accommodation they’re moving into.
Housing SA doesn’t provide rent in advance either:
- for debentured community housing properties
- if the customer’s already moved into the property.
Rent in arrears
Rent in arrears is a grant.
If a customer falls behind in their rent, and is at risk of being evicted from their private rental tenancy, they may be eligible for assistance to pay their rent arrears.
People are eligible for rent in arrears if they’re eligible for assistance in line with this policy, or have special circumstances, and meet all of the below conditions:
- they rent privately, and not in social housing - eg community housing
- they’ve exhausted all reasonable avenues to meet the full cost of their arrears
- their housing security’s at risk if payment isn’t made - eg a notice of termination has been served or is imminent
- the accommodation’s affordable and sustainable in the medium to long-term.
Amount of assistance
Customers moving into rooming or boarding houses may receive a bond guarantee of up to two weeks’ rent.
Customers moving into caravan parks may receive a bond of up to four weeks’ rent.
Customers moving into other types of accommodation may receive a bond of up to four weeks’ rent, or six weeks’ rent if the rent’s more than $250 per week.
A customer can receive up to a maximum of four weeks’ rent assistance in a two year period. This includes any combination of rent in advance and arrears.
Customers can receive up to one week’s rent in advance provided they’re eligible and they haven’t exceeded the maximum amount of rent assistance.
Customers may be approved for up to two weeks’ rent in advance if they have special circumstances and can demonstrate temporary financial hardship.
Customers moving into rooming or boarding houses are eligible for up to one week’s rent in advance, regardless of their situation.
Customers may receive up to one week’s rent in arrears if they’re eligible and haven’t exceeded the maximum amount of rent assistance.
At the end of a tenancy
Housing SA asks Consumer and Business Services to release a bond guarantee in full to Housing SA if Housing SA hasn’t been able to contact the customer or landlord within four months of the date the lease agreement ended.
If a property owner, agent or landlord makes a claim against a bond guarantee, Housing SA may:
- investigate the claim
- check the claim’s legitimate
- dispute all or part of the claim.
If all or part of a Housing SA bond’s claimed, it becomes a debt the customer owes to Housing SA in line with the Debt policy.
Bond claims made as a result of domestic abuse perpetrated by someone other than the customer are managed in line with the Domestic abuse policy.
This policy’s based on and complies with:
- Private rental assistance program procedures v 26
Related policies and other documents
- South Australian Housing Trust PRAS Cheque Security Policy
- Emergency accommodation policy
- Debt policy
- Domestic abuse policy
Date this policy applies from
24 September 2018
The online version of the policy is the approved and current version. There is no guarantee that any printed copies are current.